Texas dog lost seven years ago turns up in Spanaway and returns home

It was a joyous reunion for one family and a devastating loss for another.

The Miller family of Tyler, Texas, lost their beloved Maltese named Reese seven years ago. Turns out the dog was living – until recently – with the Davis family in Spanaway.

The little white dog escaped in 2007 while the Millers were visiting family in Balch Springs, Texas, just outside of Dallas. Dinah Miller ran an errand and when she returned, Reese started barking so relatives let him out.

“He ran past me so fast and so far I never saw him again,” Miller told The Tyler Morning Telegraph. “I threw my packages down and ran as hard as I could to find him, and it was like he disappeared into thin air. It didn’t take longer than a minute.”

Miller said her family felt more responsible for Reese because he was a shelter dog and had a bad start in life.

She said she never stopped searching for her pet and never lost hope.

“Every time you hear a bark, you think, that sounds like Reese,” she said. “We drove. We searched. We looked over fences. We peeped everywhere we could without getting shot.”

Over the weekend, the Millers received a call that Reese had been found on a road in Tacoma. A Good Samaritan had found the dog and taken him to a vet. The vet scanned Reese and found he had a microchip that was used to trace his owners.

She tried to arrange to fly to Washington to pick up Reese, but found all the flights were booked.

That’s when flight attendants for United Airlines stepped in. They put Reese in a crate on a plane to Houston where he arrived Monday night. In the meantime, Miller flew to Houston to be reunited with Reese on Tuesday.

The reunion was “very emotional and very touching,” Miller said. “Everybody was crying.”

When Miller got Reese back, she said, “He looked like he did when he left. He’s still the same Reese.”

“Somebody has taken fairly good care of him except they lost him like we did,” Miller said. “So it’s wonderful to know he hasn’t been run over, he hasn’t been sick, he hasn’t been mistreated.”

Miller was in the dark earlier this week as to how Reese got to Tacoma.

Now, the Davis family of Spanaway is filling in the blanks.

Kelli Davis told KING 5 that her family adopted the dog six years ago at a shelter in Mesquite, Texas, near Dallas.

She said the dog they named Harley was marked as an owner surrender.

“Harley is my daughter’s best friend,” Davis said. “That’s her little buddy. They do everything together.”

Davis and her family moved from Texas to Washington, she said, and Harley quickly become an integral member of the family.

She said the dog recently escaped after her 2-year-old daughter unlatched the front door.

“We were running down the street, trying to find him, and she was crying, ‘My Harley ran away,’” Davis said. “Every day we have gone out and printed fliers and walked around the neighborhood several times a day calling his name.”

Davis feels the dog belongs to her family now. She was heartbroken to learn he had been flown to Texas.

“I don’t know what to do,” she said. “We just lost a part of our family.”

Davis said she called the shelter where she adopted Harley from and asked whether they had checked for a microchip when they adopted him out. However, she said the shelter purges its records after five years.

Davis is asking for the dog back.

Miller said that isn’t happening.

She said the dog she has missed for so many years is back home and being treated like a king.

Her heart goes out to Davis, she said, but added there was no way she was giving up the dog she has missed for so many years.